Captain Applegate – July 9, 1939

Captain Applegate

Oakland Tribune

Oakland, California
July 9, 1939

Go north in our State and up into Oregon and you will find that Oliver C. Applegate, pioneer, Indian fighter, keen man with eye to opportunity, has been honored in place names. In Crater Lake National Park, by a latest order from Washington, a towering mass of rock is to carry on the name which we already attached to a sylvan glade in our own high meadows. But, so long as our Department of Interior has acclaimed Applegate, let us give heed to the story and to a man who made it possible.

William Gladstone Steel was the “father” of Crater Lake. He gave most of his life to proclaiming its glories and in efforts to have the Nation make it a park for all. In 1869 he named Applegate Peak, though the designation was recognized only within a small area. Official maps and governmental agencies were hesitant, but Steel, the discoverer of Crater Lake, was persistence. He would attach pioneers to peaks. In the routine, our National Park agencies now concede to Steel all that he said all that he said and did, and apologize. They are late, but here is the word from the Interior Department: “Applegate Peak was first named in 1869 by William Gladstone Steel, discoverer of Crater Lake, from which the National park got its name.

It has been known locally by that appellation since Steel designated it “Applegate” to commemorate Captain Applegate’s part as leader of exploring parties to the clear lake atop an extinct volcano before the region became Crater Lake National Park. The name for the peak was first accepted by the United States Geographic Board, forerunner of the present board, many years before Captain Applegate died. It is the present policy of the Government to withhold honoring its prominent citizens until after they are dead. Applegate died October 11, 1938, aged 93 years—69 years after the peak was called “Applegate.” Because of this unwitting disregard of the rule by the original board, it was decided to designate it officially.

Captain Applegate’s early years were devoted to the exploration and development of Southern Oregon and Northern California ???? Applegate ????? one of the first Federal agents on the Klamath Indian Reservation and conducted many of the early exploring parties to Crater Lake before it became a National park. Applegate Peak is 8135 feet high. One of the commanding peaks of the region, it is located near the south end of Crater Lake, and forms the west limb of Sun Notch. For all that, a big book may be written some day to show that Captain Applegate was more than this “office report” in a Government bureau would indicate.